November 17th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Are Tiger's woes a good thing for golf ?

Tiger Woods has had a turbulent 12 months following revelations about his personal life.
Tiger Woods has had a turbulent 12 months following revelations about his personal life.

It is just under a year since Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant near his Florida home and set in chain a sequence of events which saw his tangled personal life become front-page news for week after week.

It was a public relations disaster and Woods went into a self-imposed exile, only returning to competitive golf for the Augusta Masters in April.

A fourth-place finish at the first major led many to predict that it would take only a matter of weeks for the 14-time major winner to regain his former preeminence and dominate his fellow professionals.

But the opposite happened and despite the odd exception - another decent showing at the U.S. Open and dogged display at the Ryder Cup - it has been a dispiriting season for Tiger, culminating in his loss of the World No.1 spot after five years to England's Lee Westwood.

He is set to be win less in a year for the first time in his professional career and his target of equaling the record 18 majors of Jack Nicklaus looks a long way off.

Thoroughly deserved one might say, but whatever your views on Woods' private life, the fact is that every professional player owes him a huge debt of gratitude for attracting the massive prize money on offer as big corporations battled to be associated with him.

He was golf.

Tournaments lacking the American superstar were considered almost second-class affairs and TV-ratings plummeted if he was not involved. 'The Tiger effect' also surely had big influence on the decision by the IOC to include golf in the Olympic program in 2016.

But nobody could surely argue this was healthy state of affairs for a game played by millions on all continents to be so reliant on one man to represent its fortunes.

As Tiger battled his personal demons and with the world economy in recession, the game's money men must have taken a sharp intake of breath.

But they should be reassured. Golf survived without Tiger.

And it's actually been a thoroughly good thing that in the vacuum left by his fall from grace and fall the top spot, other players have stepped up to the mark.

37-year-old Westwood thoroughly deserves to be number one for his consistency, Phil Mickelson continues to delight and frustrate in equal parts, but snapping at their heels are a clutch of young guns led by PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer, Northern Ireland pair Rory McIlroy and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Ricky Barnes from the States, Ryo Ishikawa from Japan.

The list is growing, the Molinari brothers and Matteo Manassero, all from Italy, the latter the youngest European Tour winner at 17.

Of course, Tiger isn't going to take this on the chin and just walk away.

A fascinating theme for next year will be his struggle to get back to the top, to win another major, but this unhealthy obsession with one man is over for good and I think that's a good thing.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. David Saxon Jones

    Whilst i am the first to suggest that sporting stars from all sports have a moral obligation to live an exemplary private life, they are still only human. It is really difficult to act normally when your life is surrounded by people that do everything for you, tell you that you can do anything and you are treated almost like royalty. Eventually, like so many, you begin to believe the hype and that you can get away with anything and even if you get caught, you are so rich that it doesn't really matter. This is the fundamental reason why the Tiger effect exists. Sponsors, Organisers and media make them global icons and of course, as soon as trouble hits, so is the circus for without the clowns, there is no circus!

    Is this good for Golf? Financially absolutely not, for the other golfers, absolutely yes.

    To be honest, Tiger has been crucified way out of proportion. All the women he had affairs with knew he was married and so it is not only he that should be crucified. These women, some even claim loyalty to the "sisterhood" knowingly, deliberatly and with cold calculation are as guilty and as such and should share a lot of the blame. The reality is tho that they are forgotten and Tiger will forever more be remembered for his private life instead of the truly most most gifted golfer of all gifted golfers.

    That certainly can not be good for golf!

    November 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  2. Bogere shariff

    I for one think your right,went through tough times and most people thought this would bring him down but tiger is roaring agin

    November 18, 2010 at 5:36 am | Reply
  3. DODONG69

    For the doom sayers...Tiger will not only come back growling, but will be be back roaring with a vengeance...!

    November 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  4. bradoh

    Tiger will be back even if its for masters win cos (THE DOWN FALL OF A MAN IS NEVER THE END OF IS LIFE).

    November 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  5. Kris

    No one in golf is as inspiring as Tiger Woods whether he plays well or not. He makes shots that others just can't. He plays the game for passion not for the money while for all others it is work.
    His passion is why I watch golf and started to play. If Tiger is gone I will unsubscribe from golf channel.
    That's a fact.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:40 am | Reply
  6. Catherine Betty.N.

    Tiger should remain as strong as his "name". Every body has failed,only that they have not been exposed.But deep in their heart they know it. So Tiger should move on, and not bend to words.
    Wish you the BEST in the coming YEAR.

    December 8, 2010 at 9:17 am | Reply
  7. roy mullings

    I cannot remember Kennedy or Clinton getting crucified for so long like TW.

    December 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply

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